I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
Published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux for Young Readers on September 17th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.
Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.
There’s something about This Song Will Save Your Life that is highly addictive, just like the lure of the enticing night club that Elise stumbles upon in the book. In part, I think it’s the way the pacing never dragged, or the balance of light and dark subject matter. Those are both plausible causes, but TSWSYL definitely brandishes another sword of literary awesomeness: a raw, tell it like it is protagonist.
From the get-go, I wasn’t certain whether I hated Elise or whether I absolutely adored her. At moments I found her extremely compelling, and at other times I wanted to cringe away from her actions. Sales maintained this contrast throughout the book, but as time went on, it stopped bothering me.
Whether Elise was self-absorbed, or brilliant, or incredibly sad wasn’t important. Regardless of her true nature, Elise’s narration had me enthralled in her story just like the crowd’s she played music for became enthralled in her beats. Author Sales had me turning pages like it was nobody’s business, and I was more than happy to read on.
My favourite parts always included Elise’s DJ-ing interests. Going into the book I hadn’t even thought about the details of DJ-ing that are so integral to being the best. I loved the way Elise threw herself into her passions, learning beat-matching and crowd reading and struggling and growing throughout the entire book. There was no instantaneous transition, which was refreshing. I’ve been reading a lot of books lately where the MC will master a skill in the space of two pages, as if the book is a movie and all it takes is an eighty second training montage to improve.
I was also really appreciative of the stances this book took regarding the way we view others and ultimately, the way we view ourselves. I felt every character was written to be more than they initially seemed. From Char to Pippa to Amelia to Sally and Chava, everyone was worthy of a second glance.
I took a chance on this book and I don’t regret it. Normally this isn’t the type of contemporary I’m drawn to, but I was definitely impressed. I wouldn’t be hasty to recommend it though, because I can definitely see Elise’s voice being a hit for some but a miss for others. My verdict is to preview a bit, and if you’re hooked like me, you won’t be disappointed.